North Korea to revive hotline to South Korea

Aaron Brown
January 6, 2018

North and South Korea have agreed to their first high-level talks in two years, with the emergence in diplomacy helped by the us backing away from military drills.

South Korea's Ministry of Unification confirmed officials will meet "in order to discuss North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, as well as measures to improve the inter-Korea relationship and other issues of common interest".

A South Korean government official checks the direct communications hotline to talk with the North Korean side at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea, January 3.

The tentative rapprochement comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned in his New Year's message that he had a nuclear button on his desk, but at the same time offered Seoul an olive branch, saying Pyongyang could send a team to next month's Games in South Korea.

Tillerson said how such talks might begin had yet to be determined, but North Korea would have to signal it understood that they would be aimed at "final, full denuclearization".

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The White House said President Donald Trump approved the postponement in consultation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

"And I truly do believe that making it clear that all options are on the table; that, as the president has done, making it clear the United States of America has the capacity to defend our people far beyond anything North Korea could imagine; but also making it clear that if North Korea will abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions, if they will dismantle those programs, there's an opportunity for a peaceable solution", he said.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States and its two key Asia allies, Japan and South Korea, and says its weapons are necessary to counter US aggression. Commercial satellite imagery suggested that North Korea was preparing for a rocket engine test at the Sohae launch facility in the country's northeast, the website 38 North reported Friday. North Korea then called again on Wednesday a few hours later proposing to "call it a day", according to a South Korean ministry official, quoted in the country's news agency Yonhap. The communications channel between the two Koreas had been cut off for the past two years.

The announcement of the planned talks came amid a series of developments on the Korean Peninsula.

Trump expressed his hope that the inter-Korean dialogue would bring a good outcome, telling Moon that the United States supports President Moon 100 percent.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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